"Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

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"Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby Kotoni-Sukina » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:53 am

Hey so I was wondering...

I had to read a short story by Tolkien for class called "Leaf" by Niggle. I had never heard of it before, but really enjoyed it. If you have read it, what are your thoughts?
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Sat Feb 21, 2015 8:07 pm

The thought that's foremost in my mind is how ironic it is that J.R.R. "I Cordially Dislike Allegory in All of Its Manifestations" Tolkien wrote it :P But it's a beautifully written, interesting allegory that really reaches out to me as an artist (even though I'm not a painter). The thought that somewhere out there is a real tree that corresponds to the tree I try to paint....
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby Kotoni-Sukina » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:01 pm

I also thought it was ironic that Tolkien hated allegories yet wrote this anyway.

Btw, I'm a big fan of your "R-Reformed" signature :D
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby ClaecElric4God » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:02 pm

Wait, Tolkien hated allegories? Aren't there like...whole discussions and debates dedicated to the theory that LOTR is somehow a Christian allegory?
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
"I hate milk; it's like drinking vomit." -Edward Elric and me. :fmed:
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby Midori » Mon Mar 16, 2015 1:43 am

I don't think I would call Lord of the Rings an allegory, though perhaps you could say it has allegorical elements. It has things that kind of represent, or remind you of, things in Christianity or life in general. But that's totally normal for stories, especially ones written by Christians and philosophers and other religious or deep-thinking people. What an allegory does have that LotR doesn't is a definite one-to-one, this-means-that kind of representation.

Take The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, for example. That's often called an allegory because it clearly maps to the Christian story: Aslan = Jesus, the stone table = the cross, the White Witch = Satan, Edmund = the captive sinner...and things like that. Whereas it's much harder to say that about Lord of the Rings. Who is Jesus, for example? You could argue it's Frodo, or Gandalf, or Aragorn, or Sam. They all have aspects of Christ in them, but not one of them "is" Christ. Perhaps the most obvious comparison is Sauron = Satan, but then you have Saruman or Wormtongue, who embody aspects of Satan that Sauron does not. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about.
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby the_wolfs_howl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:37 pm

To hear it from Tolkien's own mouth:

J.R.R. Tolkien wrote:I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history – true or feigned – with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think that many confuse applicability with allegory, but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.
You can find out things about the past that you never knew. And from what you've learned, you may see some things differently in the present. You're the one that changes. Not the past.
- Ellone, Final Fantasy VIII

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"There's a difference between maliciously offending somebody - on purpose - and somebody being offended by...truth. If you're offended by the truth, that's your problem. I have no obligation to not offend you if I'm speaking the truth. The truth is supposed to offend you; that's how you know you don't got it."
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby ClaecElric4God » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:41 pm

Aaaah, I see.

@Midori, Honestly I would be very inclined to agree with you, and I'm glad to hear someone put it that way. I wouldn't consider LOTR an allegory, since any aspects of Christianity would have to be so deeply buried in it that they're lost to the casual reader, which is why I'm rather skeptical when I hear about the theories that it is one. When I first heard about it, I found the idea rather laughable myself. As it is, and with the_wolf's_howl's direct quote from Tolkien himself, it would seem that the rumors are nothing more than that.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -Micah 6:8 KJV
They have shewed thee, O teen, what is good; and what doth the world require of thee, but to fit in, be wealthy, have good looks, and be rebellious? -Peer Pressure 1:1
"I hate milk; it's like drinking vomit." -Edward Elric and me. :fmed:
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ClaecElric4God in regards to Wolfsong - You're the coolness scraped off the top of this morning's ice cream, after being pulled out of a beautiful summer day!
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby Nate » Tue Mar 24, 2015 12:03 am

I thought the Narnia books weren't allegory because Aslan isn't an allegorical representation of Jesus but literally is Jesus.

C.S. Lewis wrote:If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however, he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, 'What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all.


Also yeah while Tolkien was a devoted Catholic and thus definitely put allusions to Christianity into the story purposely, there isn't a whole lot of allegory in it. Not to say that there is none, but you can't really map the story of LotR to the life and times of Jesus.
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Re: "Leaf" by Niggle - Tolkien

Postby Midori » Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:58 am

Mm, I'm pretty sure allegory is one of those things where there are as many definitions of the word as people who use it. Which is why I said "is often called an allegory" instead of "is an allegory".
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